LOVING
BRIDESHEAD



INTRO:

My name: Robert Byron.

My location: A room on the first floor of the West Wing of Castle Howard.

My report: On the similarities and differences of
Loving by Henry Green and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, using illustrations from The West Wing by Edward Gorey to embellish my findings.

NNhmV9blQLC2RmDYI3WtHQ_thumb_ca43
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

My positive bias: Henry and I were best friends at Eton and I know that he sincerely regretted my death at sea in 1941.

My negative bias. I know that Evelyn Waugh, in a letter to Harold Acton following my drowning, declared that I had been a dangerous lunatic, better dead. And that, when talking to Christopher Sykes about me a few years later, Waugh exclaimed:
"I hated him! I hated him! I hated him!"

My intention: Not to let my biases interfere with my objectivity.

Here is the cover of the first edition of
Brideshead.

c23ojQTwSVKV8oTV0%CTZA_thumb_ca42

As everyone knows (even me, as of my resurrection this spring), Brideshead Revisited is about an upper class family, the Flytes, who live in a grand house in England called Brideshead Castle. Charles Ryder has a special relationship with Sebastian Flyte who he meets at Oxford. Sebastian is Charles's entrée to the whole Flyte family, including his sister, Julia, who Charles eventually falls in love with.

And below is a copy of the first edition of
Loving. This may be the actual book that Henry left in a package for Evelyn to collect at St. James's Club in London in December 1944, along with a letter about the advance copy of Brideshead Revisited that Henry had received. The package remained uncollected and Henry had to send another copy in March of 1945.

oM%dlTSXSoS5a35cPLXbTA_thumb_ca11

Loving is about servants at a grand house, called Kinalty, owned by an English family in Ireland during the second world war. There are about a dozen servants, not quite as many as there would have been at Brideshead Castle. The main relationship is between the new butler, Charley Raunce (same initials as Charles Ryder), and a housemaid who is half his age, Edith.

More later, but I'll just make a point about the cover art here. Note the two keys with what looks like a capital 'E' at the end of them. Loving begins with the old butler, Eldon, lying dying in bed, calling out the name 'Ellen'. On the last page of the book it is implied that when Charley's dying day comes, he will be remembering the events in the book and calling out the name of his beloved 'Edie'.

The cover of Loving was designed by John Piper. Piper was an artist that Evelyn met in the grounds at Renishaw when the latter was sketching the house, sketches that would adorn several of the volumes of Osbert Sitwell's tetralogy, Left Hand, Right Hand. Indeed, when Evelyn was looking for an artist to provide artwork for a special edition of Brideshead, Piper was approached and he did some preliminary sketches. However, the artist was not happy with them and the commission did not go ahead.

My own theory is that John Piper learned what an insufferable snob had written the book and declined the commission accordingly. But then if he'd refused Evelyn Waugh's shilling, surely he would have turned down that of the biggest snob of all, Osbert Sitwell. But my negative bias is showing despite my best efforts to remain neutral. Let that be a lesson to me as I make a proper beginning to my official report.



ONE

Evelyn was given leave by the army to write
Brideshead Revisited which he did in the early months of 1944. His book would draw on his experience with the Lygon family at Madresfield when he stayed there in the early 1930s, a happy time for him, partying with the upper classes, the four Lygon siblings in particular. But to begin with it would draw on the time shared with Alastair Graham at Oxford in the mid 1920s.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_b56f

Henry's relationship with the stately home was completely different. He'd been raised in
a house near to Forthampton Court, where a close relation lived, and had often, as a child, stayed at Petworth, one of the grandest houses in Britain. He was an aristocrat, as are his descendants.

eMTrm5G5QhC2hCGs9kjHkQ_thumb_ca41

Henry didn't want to write yet another book about privileged people, so instead he concentrated on the servants. Just as he'd written about industrial workers in
Living. At the time, Henry was having an affair with a much younger woman, and I suspect that the achingly touching moments between Charley and Edith can be accounted for by that.

Once the old butler has died and Charley Raunce has been promoted into his position, it is arranged that Edith would bring him his early morning cup of tea in bed.

KQE5BmrsQy2BUNgbYuF3EA_thumb_ca4c
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

Although one might think that tall, curvy teapot to be sexy, as teapots go, there is no sex as such in
Loving. Edith was well able to defend her honour against anything Charley could come up with. So why did Evelyn Waugh write in his diary in March 1945 that Henry had written 'an obscene book about servants'. Perhaps because sex does underpin much of the plot. And Henry did say in a later interview that the idea for his book came when he'd been serving as a fireman during the war and had been told the story of a butler who'd said: "What I enjoyed most was to lie in bed on a Sunday morning with the windows open, listening to the church bells, eating buttered toast with cunty fingers."

The nearest
Loving comes to reporting directly about the sex act comes when one morning Edith finds Mrs Tennant's daughter-in-law in bed with a man who is not her husband. 'Her fronts bobbin' at me like a pair of geese.' The event promotes something close to hysteria below stairs, so unspoken is nudity, so beyond the pale is adultery.

The same Edward Gorey as I mention above, designed the cover for an American edition of
Loving, and this portrays a scene early in the book where Charley walks through the house in order to trace the source of music he can hear. The following passage could almost be from Brideshead:

'As has been explained, most of this great house was closed. It was for Kate and Edith once or twice each week to open various rooms to let the air in. When Raunce after making his way up the Grand Staircase, going through the Long gallery and past the Chapel came to a great sombre pair of doors which divided one part of the castle from another, he passed once he had opened these into yet another world. The music came louder and louder as he progressed until at the white and gold doors it fairly thundered in….They were wheeling wheeling in each other's arms heedless at the far end where they had drawn up one of the white blinds. Above from a rather low ceiling five great chandeliers swept one after the other almost to the waxed parquet floor reflecting in their hundred thousand drops the single sparkle of distant day, again and again red velvet panelled walls, and two girls, minute in purple, dancing multiplied to eternity in these trembling pears of glass.'

Do your worst to capture those evocative words, Edward Gorey:

xC3p8eZWTuKDjd3qQF2a8A_thumb_ca10

All this puts the reader in mind of Charles's first visit to Brideshead when Sebastian…'led me through a baize door into a dark corridor; I could dimly see a gilt cornice and vaulted plaster above; then opening a heavy, smooth-swinging mahogany door, he led me into a darkened hall. Light streamed through the cracks in the shutters. Sebastian unbarred one, and folded it back; the mellow afternoon sun flooded in, over the bare floor, the vast twin fireplaces of sculptured marble, the covered ceiling frescoed with classic deities and heroes, the gilt mirrors and scagliola pilasters, the islands of sheeted furniture.'

What - no chandeliers? Yes, there are no chandeliers mentioned in
Brideshead, just a very naughty teddy bear called Aloysius who would be punished for sins against the Church by being pinned to the ceiling for days on end. A most undignified crucifixion, as Sebastian would say.

1LON0C0xSquf3eTHhWCO%A_thumb_ca59
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

Sorry, I just made that up about Aloysius. And here I was wanting my report to stick strictly to the facts. After all it's to be an official report. As will become clear later.

Waugh celebrates the existence of Brideshead in no uncertain fashion : 'It was an aesthetic education to live within those four walls, to wander from room to room, from the Soanesque library to the Chinese drawing-room, adazzle with gilt pagodas and nodding mandarins, painted paper and Chippendale fret-work, from the Pompeian parlour to the great tapestry-hung hall which stood unchanged, as it had been designed 250 years before; to sit, hour after hour, in the shade looking out on the terrace….This was my conversion to the baroque. Here under that high and insolent dome, under those coffered ceilings; here, as I passed through those arches and broken pediments to the pillared shade beyond and sat, hour by hour, before the fountain, probing its shadows, tracing its lingering echoes, rejoicing in all its clustered feats of daring and invention, I felt a whole new system of nerves alive within me, as though the water that spurted and bubbled among its stones, was indeed a life-giving spring.'

This contrasts with Henry's portrayal of Kinalty. For instance, the Blue Drawing Room: this was 'the most celebrated eighteenth-century folly in Eire that had still to be burned down.' It was the replica, if that is the word, of an idealised cowshed. Mrs Tennant sat on a Gothic hammock, 'surrounded by milking stools, pails, clogs, the cow byre furniture all in gilded wood.' When joined by her daughter-in-law, the older woman had a good old moan about the servants. She pointed out that a golden pitchfork-cum-lamp standard (the fork had been adapted to take an oil lamp between its prongs) was peeling in spite of the fire that was supposed to be permanently maintained by the servants in this room in order to preserve the valuable Cuyps painting. Not that a sense of absurdity doesn't raise its head at Brideshead. After all, the over-the-top design of the Chapel elicits the exclamation 'Golly," when Charles first sees it.

But that can't compete with the action of the cook's nephew at Kinalty when he first comes across a peacock. He kills it by strangulation. And the disposal of the corpse (of one of MrsTennant's favoured pets) causes the servants consternation. Perhaps it's not surprising that a cockney child taking refuge from the Blitz would experience culture shock in a palace. The equivalent at
Brideshead would be the arrival of the rich, brash American Rex Mottram with a gift for the woman he intended to marry. 'It was a small tortoise with Julia's initials set in diamonds in the living shell, and this slightly obscene object, now slipping impotently on the polished boards, now straining across the card table, now lumbering over a rug, now withdrawn at a touch, now stretching its ante-diluvian head, became a memorable part of the evening… "Dear me," said Lady Marchmain. "I wonder if it eats the same sort of things as an ordinary tortoise."'

Sp+EEVVORJeMofhhvstJPw_thumb_ca5c
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

Mention of a jewel-encrusted tortoise at Brideshead brings to mind Lady Tennant's sapphire cluster and its disappearance. Kinalty had been temporarily deserted by its owners, when an insurance man turns up to investigate the claim, so the servants have to cope with him on their own. The item of jewellery has in fact turned up, found by Edith, but she didn't want to hand it in to the head housemaid, instead she'd chosen to hide it until Mrs Tennant's return so that she would be given some credit. On top of that, Albert, Charley's young assistant (not the cockney child, also called Albert), is feeling guilty about having been involved in the purloining of another object. As a result, all the servants seem furtive and have a tendency to blurt out confessions. The investigator, who has a lisp, can't fail to become suspicious. Let me quote a little of the scene:

"I got it," he confessed.
"You what?" Raunce shouted. Edith jumped to her feet. Raunce swallowed three times and began an, "I tell you," when Mike Mathewson brought him up sharp, fairly hissing. "I've had about enough d'you hear me? Now then my lad we're getting placeth. You got it?"


There is a minor character in
Brideshead that lisps too. I don't mean Anthony Blanche, who stutters, I mean Kurt, the German that Sebastian takes up with once he's left Brideshead and headed east. Kurt lisps, but the lisp is handled subtly, so as to bring out the humour in a restrained way. When he first meets Charles, Kurt says: "You're not Thebastian's brother? Cousin maybe. Maybe you married hith thithter?" However, more often than not, he manages to say 'Sebastian' without turning the 'S' into a 'Th', so that it's all the funnier when he reverts to this: "Tell Thebastian I am still here and all right. I reckon he's worrying about me, maybe."

Back to Kinalty. Once the situation re the lost jewel has been resolved, the release of tension leads to a remarkable conversation during the servants' dinner.

"A sewer rat like him should never be permitted to harass honest folk. Is that right or isn't it? What'th that you say. Lithping like a tothpot," he added in a wild and sudden good humour.'
Kate takes this up. "You don't thay he thpoke like thith thurely," she asked, letting out a shriek of amusement. All of them started to laugh or giggle except Edith and Raunce's Albert.'
Kate carries on the joke: "If he'd lithped at me I'm dead sure I'd a lithped back. I couldn't help mythelf." Mary giggled. "Oh Kate, you don't thay tho," she cried.
"Holy thmoke but you've got me going' now," Raunce laughed. They all began giggling once more, even Edith. But Albert simpered.
"The whole thing'th too dithtathteful," Raunce quoted. "Ere I can't get my tongue round it. Dithtasteful," he tried again. "No that won't do. In a moment most of them were attempting this.
"Detethtable," he shouted out into the hubbub then doubled-up with laughter.
"Hush dear they'll hear you." Edith giggled.
"And what do I care? He asked. "Now if you'd said 'Huth' I might have harkened. But detethtable's right. It is detestable and distasteful if you like, to have been put through what we've been as if we were criminals," he said.

That's a lovely scene: funny but not gratuitous. What's more I can imagine Sebastian and Charles enjoying a joke at Kurt's expense if they could have turned the clock back and transported themselves back to Brideshead together. So let's give that a go. Wine tasting revisited:

"…It ith a little thy wine like a gazelle."
"…Like a lepwechaun."
"…Dappled, in a tapethtry meadow."
"…Like a flute by thtill water."
"…And thith is a withe old wine."
"…And thith ith a necklace of pearlth on a white neck."
"…Like a thwan."
"…Like the latht unicorn."

How does the scene end? It ends like this:

"Ought we to be drunk every night?" Sebastian asked one morning.
"Yeath, I think tho."
"I think tho too."

OD09O1wnRhKolEe30o0aGA_thumb_ca4e
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

Oh dear, it's too
much. I am reminded of my own watery grave which cheated me out of the drinking of so much fine wine. So much champagne. Oceans of the stuff.



TWO

To help me finish my report I have requested the company of the author himself. I mean Henry Yorke, of course. Not Evelyn Waugh. Sitting down with Evelyn is not something I could yet stomach. Though sitting down with Henry feels a bit odd as well.

eOPl9EJnT3WJIItpFhqgHw_thumb_c7da
Henry Yorke by Cecil Beaton, 1951

"You can talk, Robert! What are you supposed to be dressed as? You look like a lower-middle class Moslem from Istanbul."

"I'm supposed to look like a servant. I would have thought that you would have appreciated the disguise. Looking like this, I managed to top up Evelyn's champagne glass last night. Not once but ten times. He did not recognise me, but I saw all the way through his reddening face to the depths of his shallow soul."

lGk+vh4HQJuBehOMrw9alw_thumb_c84a
Robert Byron by Christopher Sykes, 1934

"Now I want to ask about your exchanges with Evelyn concerning your mutual books."

"Fire away."

"Evelyn sent you an advance copy of his 'Great English Classic'
in December 1944. Once you''d read it, you wrote him a letter, distinctly positive about Brideshead, though with reservations about the religious aspect, and enclosed a copy of your newly published novel, Loving, which you left for him at his London club."

"I can still quote bits from my lost letter '
You can imagine how shocked and hurt I was when the old man crossed himself on his deathbed. But when he sent the priest out the first time I had an idea it was too good to last. In fact through the whole of the end (when I thought Ryder was winning) I kept on saying to myself "Evelyn is reconverted to the fold and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth in Farm Street over this". But it was no go…I wish I had been in love with Oxford when I was up. I see now what I have missed."'

"Nice."

"He never got that package. He'd left the St. James's Club for White's, and had stopped calling in at his old club for mail."

%wqe2yGgSKix11WiVm8zxA_thumb_ca54
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"Anyway, not having had a reply to my letter, I wrote again on March 20, 1945, enclosing another copy of my book. This time I repeated my praise, reported my astonishment that we were writing about the goings-on in grand houses, but firmed up on my reservations. Regret at the death-bed repentance of Lord Marchmain, and my feeling that the character of the old nanny, Nanny Hawkins, was overwritten.
'How curious it is,' I added 'That we should both now be writing on lines essentially odious to each other. Me with servants and children, you with dilemmas of the Church.' I signed off, 'Love from Henry', but finished the letter by saying about my book: 'for old times sake, because, alas, you won't like it.'"

"And did he?"

"Well, he wrote back a week later from White's, clearly having considered it in detail. He found
Loving very much better than my previous novel, Caught, set in a London fire-station during the Blitz. He was delighted to find my characters returned to privacy - fog-bound as they were in Party-Going. 'A complete, beleaguered world', he called it. You have to remember how Evelyn adored my first two books, Blindness and Living. He wrote me the most wonderful letter about the latter, and our friendship grew from that: admiration for a novel that focussed on factory workers."

"Yes, I remember that phase in our mutual lives. I also remember that it took you seven years to follow up
Living with Party-Going, during which time I had published several books and so had Evelyn. What was wrong with you?"

jaNkAxGESnisNWp3l%oG6g_thumb_ca52
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"Oh God, Dig and I were starting a family. I was running the factory. Though Evelyn hadn't lost patience with me. I'd written critically about
A Handful of Dust, and very admiringly when he won the Hawthornden Prize for Edmund Campion. We were still close friends, best man at his second wedding. I was invited to the publication party for Put Out More Flags, a raucous affair despite rationing, and wrote thanking him for it, telling him that I'd no idea how we'd parted or how I'd got home. Of course, the brilliant Put Out More Flags continues the running joke where Evelyn uses Cyril Connolly's name facetiously, as the surname of a family of depraved children. As a mark of my respect, I employ a Connolly in Loving (he's the family doctor of the Tennants), though I think that was a reference that didn't register with anyone, not even Evelyn."

4ypGAX8gT56T8ArrNrF8RA_thumb_ca57
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"I noticed it."

"Thank-you, Robert. I could always count on you. Now let me carry on with Evelyn's letter of March, 1945. He told me he loved some of the minor characters, particularly Nanny Swift (
'how dared I write of nannies?' was his self-deprecating joke) and the atmosphere of mutual suspicion and interrogation in the house. Then he turned to what he 'hated'. A long catalogue that focussed on points of consistency, accuracy and social correctness: would a lady speak like Lady Tennant? If her late second husband had been a gentleman, wouldn't he have inherited their Irish castle, rather than bought it?"

"What did you think?"

"As a fellow author, he was concerned with authenticity. Fair enough. But I did feel it was also a social thing, smacking of snobbery. He ended by assuring me that
Loving was a splendid book, even after he'd said all he could against it. Then he remembered something else. 'You are debasing the language vilely.'"

"Snobbery again?"

"Well, possibly. But I think it was also a joke. What no-one can deny is that Evelyn has a sense of humour. Think of Bridey at Brideshead. Every scene in which he is involved has me smiling."

mv1GHCrtQl+ndoTrIbU8pA_thumb_ca4f
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"When Evelyn exclaimed that he hated me, hated me, hated me, could he have been joking?"

"Let's not go there right now. In his letter, he also condemned the book's 'nymphomania', referring both to Violet Jack's affair with Captain Davenport while her husband was away at war, and to the servants more innocent affairs. Evelyn may have intended a personal point here, as he was aware of my own regular entanglements with young women."

"I think I have one of the 'nymphomaniac' passages here:

"Yes?" she said and sat down bemused.
"I take things right down inside me girl," he said, putting an arm lightly round her. "When I feel whatever it is I feel it deep. I'm not like some," he was going on when she turned her face so that he looked into her eyes which seemed to have a curve of laughter in their brimming light.
"Oh, baby," he said, reached out with his face. He might have been about to kiss her. She twisted slightly, came out with a 'now then,' and he ceased.'

ltRWjN%aRay0crDJ2YR86Q_thumb_ca50
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"Evelyn was 'happily married' to Laura and expected everyone else to live within such narrow confines of happiness. My book ends with Charley Raunce and Edith leaving Kinalty. The last sentence reads: 'Over in England they were married and lived happily ever after.' Evelyn thought that ending was 'skimped'. But I was calculating that the reader would remember that Raunce was ill, that his mother was a possessive bully, that Edith would be called up for war-work and that they were leaving the abundance of Kinalty for rationing, suburbia and bombs."

"Skimped, indeed! The ending is like the rest of the book, allusive, awe-inspiring and somewhat terrifying. Harking back to the earlier butler, Eldon, on his death-bed calling out Ellen's name is brilliant. We know that one day, Raunce will be lying on his death-bed, and what would he be thinking of but Edith as she was that year at Kinalty. "

"Thank-you, Robert. From the bottom of my poor, nymphomaniac heart."

"We are not finished yet. I have been reading
The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh. There is a long entry written on 31 March at the Hyde Park Hotel. Evelyn has got back to the UK from Yugoslavia in the middle of that month, his last war campaign behind him. He's been catching up with his financial, church and domestic affairs, then states: 'Henry has written an obscene book named Loving about domestic servants.' He follows this up two days later by saying that you and Dig came to dinner. Apparently, you talked nonsense about symbolism in your book and sense about the lower classes and Russia, which you thought would collapse from internal corruption in ten years."

R47%5vPhSHGmlfhBanoeWA_thumb_ca58
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"Ah yes, my symbolism. I tried to explain how the servants at Kinalty symbolised the working class in Britain today. Evelyn understood that, but was horrified by the thought that the aristocracy should lose their wealth, assets and social position. He is such a fierce, little Tory. He signals his fear of that with Hooper in
Brideshead, of course. But when I said that instead of calling Charley Raunce after Charles Ryder, I should have called him Charley Hooper, he didn't like it one bit. He seemed genuinely afraid that what he identifies as the interests of his class - fundamentally, his Oxford peers, such as you and I - were going to be submerged by the masses. I said I thought that was inevitable, and no bad thing: everyone being equal or at least deserving of an equal chance. Then he invoked God and the conversation rapidly got out of hand. We had been drinking heavily."

"I can imagine. I remember losing my rag with him in the thirties. I suppose that partly explains his 'better off dead' remark. And his intensely expressed hatred of me."

"As for the Russian thing. I had no idea what was going to happen over there. It was Britain I knew about, or felt I did. But he was pleased to listen to my glib assessment that Communism was doomed in Russia, though I can't even remember my reasoning. Evelyn is equally afraid of the upper class in England being overthrown by Communism being imported from abroad than by the Labour movement from within. He is so Conservative! And all evening he was over-polite to Dig. It meant we couldn't get our teeth into the 'obscenity' that he reckoned lurked within
Loving. An obthene book about thervants."

"Oh, he lithped at you, did he? I would have been tempted to lithp right back."

"Lithp in hith face I thertainly did, and he didn't like it one jot."

"Wath it then he went bananath."

"Yeath, it wath then he went bananath. He thwept hith hand acroth the table, thending all the cwockery onto the floor."

"Like a bull in a china thop."

"What a clown and a clot."

"You thaid it, mate."

"He ain't heavy, man, He'th my brother."

hMBtxQEqSWGIOMFObUkAZw_thumb_ca5b
The West Wing by Edward Gorey. Reproduced with the forbearance, I hope, of the copyright holder. See note at end of text for full acknowledgment.

"He'th never my brother. He hate'th me, he hate'th me, he hate'th me."





THREE

The next day. Henry and Robert meet again in the West Wing.

"My report is complete."

"Your report?"

"I have been tasked by Nancy to write an introduction to the Castle Howard edition of
Loving."

"I though Quennell was doing those."

"You have two books on the shortlist, the other being
Party-Going. And Peter has written an introduction to that. But it was felt that an alternative voice was needed to introduce Loving."

"I'm flattered."

"
Loving has a prestigious publishing history in paperback, beginning with Penguin in 1953. It came out then in a form that I immediately recognised from the first Penguins that came out in the late '30s. Including Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies and Black Mischief."

P1MbncmxRjOJGqFsRIqSXQ_thumb_ca0e

"I had my own copy of the orange classic, and valued it immensely."

"Then in 1978, shortly after your death (32years after mine: I'll never forgive you for those extra drinks you got to enjoy), it was reissued by Penguin in
a trilogy that also included Living and Party-Going. This odd choice of a threesome was reprinted in 1993, with a cover that underlined that it's a trilogy (it is not) but is inspired solely by Loving."

vWl8HoHhSnemNluZBUJitg_thumb_ca5d.uBUI+EaETJu1f%2Np+jgng_thumb_ca5f

"Very cunty fingers for Charley that morning. Not that I'd ever say so. Talk about debasing the English language. The very phrase makes me shudder."

"It seems the rights to publishing
Loving as a single volume were retained by your estate, and bought by Harvill Press. Because they put out an edition in 1992, then followed that up with another in 1995 to coincide with the release of a film adaptation of your book."

duygXCvZQtSVTfbJfHx3cw_thumb_ca09.XObOmWNGSHq4dq6tEouTrw_thumb_ca0b

"I haven't seen the film yet. But would very much like to. She looks perfect for Edith's part, with huge eyes."

"And the cover chunk makes for a chiseled Charley. Pity the film didn't make the same impact as the TV adaptation of
Brideshead did in 1981. But you can't have everything."

"The
Brideshead adaptation was the best in a generation. One must not get trapped into comparing one's own achievements with the very luckiest and very top rank."

"You are too modest. In the 21st Century, interest in
Loving has been maintained. Random House (Canada) came up with a peacock cover in In 2001. And so did Vintage Classics in 2005.

+s546OhiRGq1MuPFSpAMwA_thumb_ca0c.VlBar+4%Rg+fu%t3QdHHyg_thumb_ca60

"These pictures give me a chance to say that there are no peacocks in Brideshead. No chandeliers and no peacocks."

"Folio Editions did you the honour of publishing a slipcased edition in 2013. And the New York Review of Books published their paperback with an introduction by Roxanna Robinson in 2016."

Mn%rTrTzSFmOjXzSAsNnHw_thumb_ca0d.cRVPwQvHRYeyn7y2N9HvMw_thumb_ca0a

"Those look wonderful. Thanks, Robert, for pulling this together."

"Hold on, because I think the new Castle Howard edition takes the biscuit. Unfortunately, Dick Young never came across a ceramic of a young boy choking a peacock. This is the nearest to it."

MTQ2s49zQaa9zjlK5tRs9A_thumb_ca61

"Little Albert would seem to have purloined the fish that was intended for the evening meal. But whether it was meant for the dining table of the Tennants or the servants, who can say… Can I borrow this?"

"Sure, Nancy has an enormous pile of them."

"I need to have a chat with her about my name."

"I wondered about that. Apparently that was Cyril's decision."

"Cyril doesn't get to decide that."

"Funnily enough, that's just how my report ends."



Next up:
Anthony Powell





Notes

1. Edward Gorey (1925 - 2000). As on
this page, I've used illustrations from an Edward Gorey book without permission but with boundless respect. I hope the above illustrations can remain in this context as a tribute to this artist's vision. His publications are available from Bloomsbury.

2. Kazuo Ishigoru published
The Remains of the Day in 1989. Was it influenced by having read Brideshead Revisited and/or Loving? Robert hasn't had a chance to research this point.

3. In early July, 2020, Jeff Manley of The Evelyn Waugh Society brought to my attention an article by Rupert Christainsen in the
Daily Telegraph. Although not consciously, I think the note must have inspired me to write the above essay. Christiansen summarizes Loving which he denominates 'the anti-Brideshead' and contrasts it to Waugh’s novel in several respects, one of which is the starkly different writing style adopted by Green. 'The writing is idiosyncratic in its elisions and inversions, with dialogue that is often oblique, even opaquely Pinterish. Waugh, who aimed at a prose of classical translucency, told Green that he was 'debasing the language vilely', but others have been enchanted by a style that is fresh, buoyant, untrammelled. […] While Loving debunks the country house, Brideshead Revisited mourns its demise.'

There is no lisping in Christiansen's piece.